Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DAY 151 -- Who am I?

Please bear with me as I am about to "expose my soft underbelly" so to speak.  Recently I was brought face to face with myself and saw something that I didn't realize was there.  This post might be lengthy as I sort this out, so hopefully you will read it all, otherwise you might be confused over changes in my blog over the next couple days.  I would greatly appreciate input or feedback on this post.

When I started this blog, I decided to use a pen name.  I did not do this out of secrecy... or so I thought... I did this out of wanting to protect myself on the Internet... or so I thought.  Hopefully people read the section on my blog homepage that tells that I was using a pen name.

Along with starting My Healthy Eating Challenge, I've been working on an "Addiction Recovery Program" to help myself deal with my addiction to food (my overeating).  This program is similar to the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve step program.  I have not attended any meetings, but I've been working on it on my own, using a workbook.

As I've worked the steps about honesty and truth, something kept nagging at me in the back of my mind... my use of a pen name for this blog.  At first I could not understand why the nagging thoughts.  It wasn't like I was being dishonest, after all, I had the information about my pen name posted for anyone to see!  Still, the thoughts continued to plague me, until I finally took it to God in prayer, hoping He could help me sort it out.

What was revealed to me really shook my world and I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it ever since the "truth" hit me between the eyes.

Get this... here I was telling myself, and my readers, that the reason I was using a pen name was for privacy issues on the Internet.  Well, when I brought up that so-called "fact" in prayer, God showed me a major inconsistency in my life.  I actually have another blog and I don't use a pen name for that one!  In fact, I have personal information on there... the area I live in, where I went to school, my name.   If Internet privacy was my issue, why was I not using a pen name for that blog!

Whoa.  That really shook me up.  How could I not even notice that I was using my actual name and information on one blog and a pen name on the other?  How could I not even notice that inconsistency in my thinking about Internet privacy?  I was stunned, it made no sense to me, and it took a lot of soul searching and prayer to sort it all out.

It boiled down to this: Shame, Fear, and Lack of Trust.

Shame.  I did not realize how much I feel ashamed of my over-eating.  I have conquered so much, for crying out loud!  I stopped eating sweets 9 1/2 years ago and have stayed strong in that aspect.  That's a MAJOR accomplishment.  I am a different person than I was all those years ago.  Almost night and day different.  Why then, do I feel so ashamed that I struggle with food addiction?

Fear.  I used a pen name not because I feared strangers learning about me, but because I feared people I actually know might come across my blog if they googled or searched my name.  There are some people in my life -- and get this -- they are people I rarely have contact with -- that are not very supportive of my endeavors.  I sometimes get the feeling they would love to see me fail, and perhaps even expect me to fail.  So I feared that if I wrote daily about my quest to eat healthy, and failed in my attempt, they would rejoice in my failings!  I feared others (not strangers) knowing if I failed!

Which brings me to Lack of Trust.  I did not feel I could trust those certain people with my daily blog posts.  I did not feel I could trust them not to hurt my feelings, or talk about me behind my back.  I did not trust them to encourage me.  I expected (in my own imagination) that they would wag their tongues and their fingers, "See...she's a failure."

My other blog (which will be revealed in a future post) contains thoughts and feelings and goals too.  My other blog chronicles my return to school, my chosen field, my university studies, my hopes and dreams, my career path... all of which could be ridiculed or mocked... all of which I could fail at on any given day.  So why did I not fear having others find that blog?  Why did I not fear what others might say about that?

As I pondered and prayed about my inconsistency between the two blogs, I received an answer.  Because with my other blog I feel confident and secure.  I don't care what others think.  I don't care if others mock or ridicule.  It's what I've chosen to do and what I love and I don't even care if I fail at it, because at least I tried!  With this blog, however, I do not feel confident.  My daily battle with food addiction is real, and painful, and I often fail.  I want to succeed.  I know with God's help I can succeed, but I don't know if I can carry through.

That's a big reason I started this blog.  I hoped by making myself accountable to others, I might actually succeed...I might actually carry through with my goal to make healthy eating choices daily.  And I want to continue this blog.  But I want to continue as myself.  I feel like that will be a big step in my twelve steps... revealing my first name (I've been using my middle name), and more about myself.  I want to post photos of myself.  I want you to see what I looked like before I started my sugarholic recovery.  I want you to see what I looked like after losing almost 90 pounds.  I want you to see what I looked like at the beginning of this challenge.  And I want you to see what I look like at the end of this year.

I feel like opening up and sharing more deeply will aid in my recovery from food addiction.  I am anxious, yet scared, to make this step.

I wanted to explain what was going on before I make the changes to my blog.  I wanted to get some feedback, is this the right thing to do?  Are you still with me?  Have you ever experienced a situation where you didn't realize you were not being honest with yourself?  


  1. I have been in a 12-step program for 9-1/2 years. I know EXACTLY what you speak of. One of the things we learn in meetings is to find a trusted, closed-mouth friend to share personal information with, and at meetings we share in a "general way" what it used to be like, what happened and what we are like now to help newcomers identify they are in the right place.

    A suggestion I would offer is to not share anything in an open meeting (or blog, facebook, etc.) that you wouldn't want showing up on the front page of the newspaper. Having my own blog, I usually "sit" on my most personal thoughts and feelings before I venture forward writing in a post. I do want to be my most authentic self, however, 12-step programs are based on principles. One of them that I hold dear is the 12th Tradition: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, reminding us to place principles before personalities."

    I applaud you for the idea of being "accountable to others", however, would caution that not everyone understands addiction. 12-step program meetings are a great place to go to meet folks who know about addiction whether it is food, alcohol, drugs, etc. There you will find a common solution in a loving, caring group of people who know first-hand what its like to be in recovery from whatever addiction.

    My final "suggestion" would be that you attend a few OA meetings, get a sponsor (closed-mouthed friend) who will help you through the steps and THEN come back to your blog with any adjustments you feel like you would want to make.

    I really enjoy your posts!

  2. Susan, thank you for your suggestions and understanding. I think I know what you mean about "sitting" on your personal thoughts and feelings before posting. I've been contemplating this post for several weeks, and finally felt like the time is right for me to add some personal information.

    By "personal" I mean my first name and pictures and so forth... not gut wrenching "tell all" personal things. It's been difficult, at times, to write about some things (certain restaurants, and even sometimes the weather) because I was trying so hard not to reveal location, or anything identifiable. I just felt like I had to explain what was going on.

    I used to attend OA some years ago, but stopped going because that particular group seemed to just meet socially and not really work the program (supporting each others failures rather than encouraging success). I think there is a food addiction group meeting somewhere near me which I will check into. I know the last time I checked, their meetings were during a time I could not attend, but that's when I was in school. With your advice to attend meetings, I think I will check on that group again and see when they meet.

    Thank you!
    --Trudy (Lynn)

  3. Well, hello Trudy! Looking forward to your future posts as much as your former ones.